|When your supervisor says his kidding remarks are all in fun, he is kidding himself. The real determination as to whether remarks are in fun or are hurtful is best made by the recipient, not the sender. |
It does take much at all to turn kidding into taunting, badgering, and even inflicting distress. His behavior raises real questions about his interpersonal skills as well as his supervisory skills.
If you try to toss some kidding remarks back at him, he will sense that you want to get into a verbal tangle with him. His most likely reaction will be to raise the stakes and come back at you with increasingly hurtful comments, since he will want to win. This raises the most common motivation behind this type of behavior, namely a need to sense some control and power.
The time he starts the kidding routine, tell him in a businesslike way that his specific comments are hurtful and interfering with your work. Perhaps if he senses that he has something to lose by bothering you, he will stop. If he does not get the message, then you should seriously consider taking it to his boss.
Companies can have real liability when supervisory personnel are bothering and taunting their employees. No kidding.